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Government Innovation Starts with a Culture of Yes

July 16, 2020 / Dcode

With a complex procurement process and lots of red tape, the U.S. government is known for saying no. Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, Dr. Will Roper joins our Dcode Virtual series with insight into the value of a domestic industrial base, the SBIR process, and how to more effectively bring emerging tech into the military. As he reflects on the most crucial way to break through what he describes as “eight-and-a-half pounds” of reasons to resist government innovation, he believes it begins by creating a “culture that starts with yes.”

Watch Dr. Roper’s full session here.

When it comes to bringing emerging technology into government, Dr. Roper says there are a “whole lot of reasons people can say no,” but “very few are absolutely definitive.” Dr. Roper recommends embracing the gray area to create real change. He hopes to build a “default to yes” culture, encouraging the idea that a task is possible until proven otherwise. Shifting to a culture of saying yes to innovation is something government leaders are realizing is necessary, which is one of the reasons Dcode has built culture change into our government training curriculum.

Dr. Roper believes that coming out of this disruptive time, the nation and his team are “going to be much more adaptable.” In fact, he believes the changes that Covid-19 accelerated will increase flexibility and serve his team well in the future. He believes if we don’t utilize this time to strengthen our domestic innovation base, “we lose.”

As Dr. Roper continues to build and strengthen the “default to yes” culture in the Air Force, he believes the possibilities are endless. “Everyday is a new universe,” he says, and with new uses of technology in the federal government, “our potential can’t be underestimated.”

To watch the on-demand recording of Dr. Roper’s virtual session and learn more about building a “culture of yes” visit